Paint The Town Red, Not Brown…
Your plane has just touched down at Don Muang. Ooh, that feeling of anticipation, excitement! I’m finally in the exotic Land of Smiles! Yes! You get through Immigration and Customs without major hassles, and make your way through the door. Then it hits you…
The heat, the sounds, the smells; the crowds! ‘Mister, mister! Taxi? Limo? Where you go?’ This doesn’t look like what your friends told you about. Never mind. You finally go off with a guy who seems to know where your small hotel (that you booked off the internet at a discount) is. After an amazing ride through a maze of streets and side streets, you’re there. It doesn’t quite look like what you saw on the net; still, not that bad. You pay off your ‘limo’ driver, not realising that you’ve just been ripped off for three times the going rate.
The room isn’t quite what you expect; the air-conditioner drips, and you can’t adjust the temperature control. The floor in the bathroom is continually wet, but you’ve yet to locate the leak. Plus, the window overlooks a blank wall of the adjacent building. Not that it really matters; the window could be completely bricked up for all you care. You get your bearings and head straight off to Sukhumvit… now what was the name of the place my mates said they had such a great time in?
You spot a Mcd’s on the way and pop in for a McBurger…. Hey, hang on! You flew halfway across the planet to have a McD’s? It’s exotic Thailand, mate. Where’s your sense of adventure? Eh?.. Uh.
‘Hello, hansum man! Where you go? Where you come flom? I go loom you!’ Wow, this is great! Sitting in the bar, watching all those scantily clad girls on the stage, one on each knee, and a whole load of glasses on the table in front of you. Funny thing, though. Must be your imagination, but those crispy snacks on the table seem like they’ve grown legs…
Noy’s all dressed and ready to go after you’ve paid the barfine. ‘My flen, she come too’, she says. Okay, maybe two’s better than one, you think. On the way out, Noy announces, ‘I hungly. We go eat’. You end up at a place serving some seafood, and you have a beer or two to wash it down. Gosh, it was spicy, but you’ve had so many beers it doesn’t really register. The bill comes and it’s three times (!) the amount you paid for the bar fine..
When you reach the hotel, Noy’s friend takes her leave – she gives you a nice wai and says ‘Me go home now’ before walking off. You think, ‘What the -!’ as Noy says, ‘We go loom now.’
When you wake up late the next morning, all has been forgotten. Noy has been extremely energetic (in your opinion), and can’t seem to get enough. Must have been that chili-fueled seafood meal last night. And she seems quite happy to spend the rest of the day here, before going back to the bar later. You think you’re in heaven.
It’s been almost a week now, and you’ve become a bit more adventurous; it has also earned you the title ‘butterfly’. You try the local food that your teeruk of the moment is eating; on more than one occasion it has resulted in a coughing, gagging fit, and once resulted in some extra high-powered Thom Yam shooting out your left nostril. Fortunately there’s always some beer at hand. You now know the better brands and avoid the cheaper, almost aromatic-smelling ones.
Then there was the short sightseeing trip to Yaowarat in Chinatown with that gorgeous thing from the XYZT bar; it ended up with you buying her a birthday present in one of the ever-present gold shops there in your hurry to get her back to the room to attend to some other urgent business you had in mind…
Obviously, after eating all that spicy, exotic (to you) food, washing down the gullet with copious amounts of beer to beat the heat, and sweating like a pig, you’d think, ‘Ah, that’s all there is to it then’, and ‘Isn’t this the life?’, well, let me tell you mate, it’s just a matter of time.
You’re sitting across the table looking at Noy, or Mam, or whoever is taking your fancy at the moment, and take another gulp at your beer, sending it down into the depths to join the rest of the fried squid, chili crab, goodness knows what sour salad, and the Thom Yum that almost burnt the back of your throat off. You wonder how that sweet, demure-looking creature seated opposite you didn’t even bat an eyelid as she shovelled it down. No matter. You smile back at her in mid swallow, and feel a pleasant stirring from your nether regions.
You are suddenly aware of a slight change in the stirrings; the beer and the rest of what you ingested earlier have finally reached critical mass. You need to belch, and feel a fart coming on. Out of respect for the lovely creature seated opposite, you shift your bum slightly so it will be as noiseless as possible…
A small voice in the back of your head starts raising some hackles, and your eyes grow a little wider. It’s not going to be just A fart. You feel your forehead and palms turn cold and clammy; immediate mind control needs to be exerted on the sphincter. While concentrating hard on the urgency of control in the matter, another part of your mind is now trying to concentrate through the fog. You begin to stand up. Carefully. Noy (or Mam or whoever), suddenly takes on a look of concern; ‘Where you go?’ ‘Gugg, ggo Hong naam’ And make a mad dash in the direction of the bathrooms, as your sphincter is beginning to spasm, and you’re worried you could lose it.. Finally you see it, and dash through the main door, knowing salvation is at hand – or is it?
Toilets in public places, be they in the shopping centers or the hotels, vary widely. In many instances it will not be what you expect to find back in Farangland. Obviously you won’t run into a problem at any hotel that has a lot of stars to go with the name; you do, however have to be aware that many shopping centers and the less well-known hotels have toilets that may not necessarily be farang-friendly.
There are two types of commodes here; there is the toilet seat, and there is the squat type as well.
The toilet seat I’m sure you’re familiar with, but the locals do not really like them too much, so you may not find them in all the shopping centers. If you are fortunate enough to find one, hopefully the seat has not gone missing either. (It was probably ripped off it’s hinges by the guy who had to defend himself from the well-endowed katoey that followed him into the cubicle so he could make good his escape.)
Back to the missing toilet seats – it is easier (and the locals believe cleaner) to squat on plain porcelain rather than on a wobbly bit of plastic, as they would rather not sit in public places. Hence the unpopularity of such said item.
The squat type is preferred by the locals as that means only the feet are in contact with the porcelain, not any other intimate parts. If you’re not used to it, it can give you cramps of a different kind. It can also lead to the contamination of the garments that you have been trying to avoid all along, isn’t that why you’re in this cubicle in the first place? The squat type is also the type you will also find at almost every gas station upcountry; the little bucket floating in the water is used in place of toilet paper, and to flush the bowl once you’re done. A slightly more modern approach is the mini shower head on a short hose that can be found within reach of the flush handle; it is used to perform the same function.
These squat toilets are also much easier to clean, and so are preferred by the operators of public toilets.
Note: There typically is NO toilet paper provided! Many shopping centers will have a vending machine for toilet paper; and it’s usually just inside of the main entrance of the toilets. It’s a couple of baht per box, and there is not a lot in the box either. Be warned.
So you made it into the cubicle with seconds to spare. It got a little hairy for a while when you had to feed the vending machine with coins and not rip it off the wall at the same time. But at least the pressure is now gone, and, sitting in the malevolent, foetid fog that’s enough to peel the wallpaper off the walls, you realise that your sphincter is a ring of fire. No wonder the locals use water.
You’re finally comfortable enough to commence the clean-up, and reach into your pocket to pull out… two packets of condoms! You now begin praying that there is a mini-shower somewhere in the cubicle; it’ll assist in subduing the flames besides the clean-up. On the bright side, at least the condoms will keep your fingers from getting brown.
Well, lads will be lads. Who doesn’t want to go out and have a bit of fun, especially if it is half a planet away from home? There’s nothing like a change of environment to liven up the spirits, eh? Just don’t forget to factor in a change in diet and the inevitable consequences it may entail, and make a mental list of all the user-friendly places within shouting distance of your preferred playground before you have an urgent need for them.
Pocket packs of tissues are readily found in most supermarkets; it’s probably an indispensable item to have with you. In similar vein, but off on a tangent, it’s almost as easy to find adult diapers…